Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pizza Hut & Coca Cola

12 January 2010 – Siem Reap, Cambodia. Pizza place across from Home Sweet Home Guest House.

I was craving farang food so I headed across the road to the pizza hut. In Cambodia, this means I crossed a dirt road to a hut that serves pizza. I ordered the margherita and a coke, but was denied.[bxA]


“No, no have coke. Good coconut today,” the smiley waiter guy told me.

“You don’t have coke?” I pointed to the cokes in the fridge.

“Yes, have coke but coconut is better. Try coconut today?”

“Okay, fine, I’ll have a coconut,” I half-heartedly conceded. I wanted a coke.



The coconut was delicious – served cold and about a zillion times better than the warm ones served at Home Sweet Home guest house. People tell me coconuts are incredibly healthy. And it cost the exact same as a coke: $1.00 USD.

One of the few things I did during my many lazy days in Siem Reap was wander the streets (trolling for posh coffee spots) with my Lonely Planet stashed in my bag and Hot, Flat & Crowded playing on my iPod. (I didn’t want to listen to HotFlatCrowded but I’d discovered the long forgotten audio book my sister gifted me ages ago, and figured I ought to think about something since I was talking to no one.)

Within a couple of days of my conversion to coconuts, I read the Lonely Planet’s ‘Doing Your Bit!’ to minimize the impact of tourism on the local environment, which simply states:

“Drink coconuts rather than soft drinks.”

Meanwhile, on my iPod Thomas L. Friedman’s narrator rattled on (and on and on and on) about the devastating effects to the environment caused by the globally expanding middle class and its demand for products like coca cola. A local tourism brochure explained to me how much more the community benefits economically from tourists paying a dollar for a home grown coconut versus a manufactured can of coke. So, for once, I was doing the right thing not only for the community, but my health and the environment… all thanks to that sweet smiley waiter at the pizza hut.

But, before you go thinking I’m any kind of conscientious environmentalist eco-tourist, stop. I’m not. To me, Copenhagen is a chewing tobacco back in Texas.

Copenhagen, what a wad of flavor.
Copenhagen, you can see it in my smile.
Copenhagen, do yourself a favor.
Chew Copenhagen, drive them pretty girls wild.


- Robert Earl Keen,
Texas Singer Songwriter

3 comments:

Kathy Smith said...

What volume of liquid do you get from an average coconut? With apologies to Woody Allen, the mouth wants what the mouth wants. Learning to be flexible & accepting would be a very tough travel lesson.

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But, before you go thinking I’m any kind of conscientious environmentalist eco-tourist, stop. I’m not. To me, Copenhagen is a chewing tobacco back in Texas.

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